Let me explain. Recently a woman I am close with wrote me a letter, ultimately saying goodbye and that she could not take the struggle any longer. Her marriage has been rocky for several years now, she is raising a child that is not her own, she works long hours, and barely gets by on bills. Life was getting rough and her partner who is supposed to be a team player rooting for her, had stopped caring or participating. She had become a one woman team with a room mate who complained that the team wasn't making any goals.
The letter she wrote me was heart breaking. She was reaching out to me, not asking for help, but just letting me know she was done. She wanted someone to know that she had tried, and she wasn't giving up, but quitting the team altogether.
The letter through me. I didn't know what to say or how to fix the problem. The next few days it was stuck on my mind and I couldn't shake the feeling. I had a morning off from work and decided to stop into a shopping store. Passing by a rack, I saw shirts at fairly decent prices. Excited I started trying stuff on and by the end of my shopping spree, I only had one shirt in my shopping bag and it wasn't for me. In the end I bought my friend a shirt and some chocolate. When I got to her work place I just assumed I would get a sticky note and write her name on it. Instead I ended up with computer paper and a letter that made me cry.
I explained the shirt was beautiful just like her soul. And the chocolate was rich, just like her heart is rich with love. I spoke of her own inner strength. That it was deep within her and she could pull it forward on her own.
I thought writing the letter would make me feel like I was paying it forward. Make me happy and fuzzy inside. But as I wrote words of encouragement and strength, I became more saddened by each word. Was this my job? My responsibility? Perhaps as a friend, yes giving a loving word of advise and a small gift to bring joy for a moment. But as I finished up the letter I felt more and more like I was doing the man's job. Isn't your husband supposed to say he is sorry and send you flowers? Isn't he supposed to show up to your work and take you to lunch asking for forgiveness. Why was I the one to give her strength and hope, when I am not the one married to her? I'm not apart of the team. I'm not the coach or even the water-boy. If anything I may be a cheerleader, only standing on the side lines watching as the team attempts to make a goal happen.
In the end, it made her day, thanking me for my thoughts and gestures. How is her marriage? Still on the rocks. How is her job? Still long and hard labor. How are her bills? Still living a paycheck at a time. But for a moment she had a glow about her and in the end that is all that matters. That a small bit of hope was restored.